- Hike in the hills of Munnar over a sea of green tea plantations
- Spend the night on a houseboat in Kerala's backwaters
- Practice yoga on the beach in Kovalam
- Stroll through a spice garden in Periyar
|Day 1||Arrival in Cochin||Cochin|
|Day 2||Tour Cochin and Drive to Munnar||Munnar|
|Day 3||Hike to Seven Malai Hills||Munnar|
|Day 4||Explore Periyar and See a Cooking Demonstration||Periyar|
|Day 5||Boat Trip on Periyar Lake||Periyar|
|Day 6||Drive to Alleppey and Cruise on a Houseboat||Alappuzha|
|Day 7||Beach Day in Kovalam||Kovalam|
|Day 8||Yoga and Beach Day in Kovalam||Kovalam|
Day 1: Arrival in Cochin
Today, you'll land at the Cochin International Airport (COK). After a traditional "Swagat" (welcome) from your local guide, you'll be taken to your hotel to check in.
Once you've rested, you can explore Cochin, which is also known as Kochi. The city has traditional sea trade connections with the Middle East, Mediterranean, and northern Europe. This cosmopolitan past is reflected in its architecture, which incorporates influences from different parts of the world, including Portuguese, Dutch, and British elements.
Day 2: Tour Cochin and Drive to Munnar
After breakfast at your hotel, you'll explore Fort Cochin and Mattancherry.
First, you'll visit the Dutch Palace, which was built by the Portuguese and presented to the Cochin King in the 16th century. Then tour the St. Francis Church (the oldest European church in India), and Santa Cruz Basilica, built by Portuguese in the 16th century.
Next, you'll head to Jewish Town to see its old curio shops and 400-year-old synagogue. Then, you'll walk through the fish market and see the famous Chinese fishing nets nearby, which are believed to have been brought to India by traders from Kubla Khan's court in China during the 14th century.
In the afternoon, your driver will take you to Munnar, a beautiful hill station known for its colonial charm and its beautiful tea plantations. The town is located at the confluence of three mountain streams: the Mudrapauzha, the Naliathani, and the Kundala. The area is filled with rolling hills, sparkling waterfalls, tea plantations, and picturesque hamlets, making it the perfect place for hiking. The drive from Kochi to Munnar takes about four hours.
Day 3: Hike to Seven Malai Hills
In the morning, you'll drive out of Munnar with a picnic and head to the small village of Nagarmundi, where your hike begins. The scenery is beautiful and peaceful, with gently sloping hills, green plantations and forests, sparkling waterfalls, and the occasional small village set among the rolling valleys. You'll make your way through cardamom and coffee plantations on your way to the top of the hill.
Once you reach the summit, you'll stop for a picnic lunch with beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding hills. After lunch, you'll retrace your steps and return to Munnar. The entire hike takes four to five hours.
After the hike, you'll have the option to visit the Tea Museum, which is designed as a demo model of a working tea factory. You can learn about how tea is processed and transformed from fresh green leaves into the final tea product ready to be packaged.
Day 4: Explore Periyar and See a Cooking Demonstration
In the morning, you'll drive to Thekkady (Periyar), a trip that takes around three to four hours. The drive is spectacular: the route climbs through the Western Ghats and offers a fantastic view of Tamil Nadu. You'll also have the chance to stop at some local markets and grape plantations along the way.
Then, you'll arrive at the lively little village of Thekkady, which is known for its many spice plantations. After lunch, you'll go on a short walk in a spice garden, where you'll see lots of different spices growing. You can also explore the bazaar, where shops sell cardamom, vanilla, pepper, peppers, turmeric, and lots of other spices.
In the evening, you'll be treated to a sari wrapping demonstration, followed by a cooking demonstration and dinner. A sari is a garment worn by many women in the Indian subcontinent. It consists of a large strip of cloth, which can be wrapped in various styles. It is usually worn over a midriff-baring blouse and a petticoat.
Day 5: Boat Trip on Periyar Lake
In the early morning, you can relax at your hotel or join a jungle walk with the hotel's forest guide, where you'll get a chance to see lots of local birds, including kingfishers, storks, and hornbills. Periyar National Park is one of the largest reserves in southern India, and is surrounded by a large artificial lake.
In the afternoon, you'll take a boat trip on Periyar Lake, which is a great way to get closer to the park's animals and spot wild elephant families.
You'll also have the option to get an Ayurvedic massage at the nearby Ayurvedic massage center.
Day 6: Drive to Alleppey and Cruise on a Houseboat
In the morning after breakfast, you'll check out of your hotel and drive to Alleppey, also known as Alappuzha. This town is the main point of departure for backwater cruises in Kerala. The drive takes about three to four hours.
Once you arrive, you'll board a houseboat and begin cruising Kerala's backwaters. This tour is one of the highlights of the trip: each charming boat as been decorated and outfitted into a comfortable cruise vessel. You'll drift down waterways flanked by lush vegetation on either side, where you can catch glimpses of dazzling tropical birds and small villages. Spend the night on the houseboat.
Day 7: Beach Day in Kovalam
Today, you'll leave the houseboat behind and drive to Kovalam, a popular resort known for its golden beaches. A massive rocky promontory on the beach has created a beautiful bay of calm water, which is ideal for sea bathing. The beaches surrounded by lush coconut palms. You'll spend the day swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying relaxing herbal massages.
The drive to Kovalam takes around four to five hours.
Day 8: Yoga and Beach Day in Kovalam
This morning, you'll join a 60-minute yoga class. This ancient discipline will transport you to a sacred space inside of yourself, beyond the hassles and turmoils of daily life.
Then, you'll have the rest of the day free to enjoy: sunbathe on the beautiful golden beaches, go for a swim, or enjoy a relaxing Ayurvedic massage.
Day 9: Kovalam
Enjoy a free day in Kovalam: you can go swim, relax on the beach, take a yoga class, or get another Ayurvedic treatment.
You'll also have the option to go on an excursion to Kanyakumari, the extreme southern tip of India, where the Indian Ocean meets the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Along the way, you'll pass the old wooden palace of the leaders of Travancore in Padmapuhamban and the Hindu temple in Suchindram.
Day 10: Departure
Today, your driver will take you to Trivandrum International Airport (TRV) to catch your flight home.